Steven Van Zandt’s Rock and Roll Forever Foundation and the New Jersey School Boards Association are calling upon teachers and students to become part of New Jersey’s rich musical tradition by creating a documentary that explores the sound of their hometown.

Sonic Highways Hometown Documentaries is a project-based learning initiative created by the Rock and Roll Forever Foundation that empowers groups of students to create a filmed portrait of their town’s musical history through research in libraries and archives, interviews with family members, local musicians, venue owners, historians, and fans.

Inspired by the Dave Grohl-directed HBO series Sonic Highways, these documentaries provide students a dynamic, hands-on way to explore local history through music; by problem solving; working on creating long-form narratives; and engaging in basic filmmaking — it is a truly interdisciplinary learning experience. Completed films shine in students’ portfolios, demonstrating their ability to work in groups, organize and finish a major project, and apply scholarly concepts to real-world tasks.

The Sonic Highways Hometown Documentaries Film Festival will debut on Oct. 23 and 24 at the annual Workshop 2018 conference, at the Atlantic City Convention Center. Students participating in the making of these local documentaries will have the opportunity to screen their films at the Festival and participate in a question and answer session with attendees.

Submissions/Deadline Extension To be considered for the 2018 Sonic Highways Hometown Documentaries project, groups of students in Grades 9 through 11 must submit a film treatment to the Rock and Roll Forever Foundation. Due to numerous weather-related school closures, the submission deadline has been extended to Monday, April 23, 2018. Please indicate whether or not your school has a film class/department. (Students without access to filming equipment are encouraged to still participate.)

More Information Interested parties should review the User Guide and requirements for film treatments online — Sonic Highways Hometown Documentaries.

Q&A Podcast To learn more about the Sonic Highways Hometown Documentaries project, listen to the archived broadcast of the recent podcast Spotlighting Your Student Filmmakers on BlogTalkRadio. During this informative program, Conversations on NJ Education host, Ray Pinney, discusses this new initiative with Christopher Tuffli, the executive director of the Rock and Roll Forever Foundation, and Dayna Orlak, a social studies teacher and the coordinator of the gifted program at Waldwick High School who participated in this project in her district. Listen to the broadcast at any time.

For questions and submissions, please contact Rock and Roll Forever Foundation.

Learn more about the Rock and Roll Forever Foundation’s TeachRock project and view all 120+ free lesson plans, online.